Avenge me!

July 11- Avenge me

The caliphate of Umar Ibn Khattab (rta) is considered to be the golden era of Islamic rule. Umar (rta) was settled in Madinah, from where he commanded and guided the companions. He had instructed to inform him immediately, if any new state or land was captured by the Muslim army, so he could give directions for implementing further strategies.

Ahnaf Ibn Qais (rta) was one of the best men in Basra. He had earned the credit of bringing many areas under the Islamic rule. He reports:

“Once, we had news of a great victory that we wished to share with the Amir-ul-Mumineen. He inquired: ‘Where have you stationed your army at the moment?’ Upon reaching the designated location, he observed the camels we had used for our journey. After extensive travelling and hunger, they appeared to be weak and languished. Umar Ibn Khattab (rta) immediately admonished: ‘Are you not afraid of Allah (swt) concerning your mounts? Why did you not let these camels rest a while during your journey, allowing them to graze and replenish their energy?’

We clarified: ‘O Amir-ul-Mumineen! We couldn’t contain our joy over our triumph. We wanted to reach you as fast as we could to share with you the news of our great victory.’

The Caliph returned after hearing us out and we accompanied him. Instantly, a man appeared with a complaint: ‘So-and-so has been cruel to me. Please, help me against him!’

Amir-ul-Mumineen raised his whip and hit the man on his head. He retorted: ‘Why don’t you approach me with your complaints in my spare time? When I am occupied resolving important affairs of the community, you approach and insist to help you right away!’

The man, who had brought the complaint, left. Amir-ul-Mumineen almost immediately ordered for the man to be called back. When the complainant returned, Umar (rta) threw his whip before the man and said: ‘Avenge me!’

The man replied: ‘No, I do not wish to avenge you; instead, I will forgo the matter for Allah (swt) and for you.’

The caliph said: ‘No! Either you pardon me and seek a reward for the same from Allah (swt) or you can avenge me.’

The man chose to pardon the Caliph for the pleasure of Allah (swt).

After that, Umar (rta) left and headed to his house. He offered two Rakahs of prayer and addressed himself: ‘You were an ordinary man, and Allah (swt) granted you a respectable status. You were stumbling in the darkness, and Allah (swt) guided you to light. You were a man of low stature, and Allah (swt) elevated you with a sound reputation and reward. Then, He appointed you as a ruler over people. But when a man, who had been wronged, came to you to seek justice against the wicked, you whipped him. Now, explain: how will you face your Lord on the Day of Recompense, when you are questioned regarding this matter?’

Ahnaf Ibn Qais (rta) states: “While the Amir-ul-Mumineen was reprimanding himself, we were certain that he was the best of men at that time among all of us.”

Adapted (with permission) from Sunehray Faislay published by Darussalam. Translated for “Hiba” by Rana Rais Khan.

Chand Raat: A Thoughtful Perspective

July 11- Chand raatThe announcement of the sighting of the moon is the signal for us to shift from prayer mode to party mode, and why not? After a month of spiritual devotion, we feel like we’ve earned the right to some worldly indulgence. However, the conclusion of the month of fasting shouldn’t mean the end of our awareness of being a Muslim. We should carry that consciousness throughout the enjoyments of Chand Raat as a testament that we haven’t forgotten Allah (swt) in the joy of the new moon. We can enjoy ourselves without losing our self respect as the best creation. Here are some handy tips:

Go easy on the accelerator

I don’t mean just literally. The Quran says: “Eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (God) likes not Al-Musrifûn (those who waste by extravagance).” (Al-Araf 7:31)

Sure, eat out and buy pretty things, but don’t go overboard. It is best to decide beforehand the exact things you need to get, in order to avoid impulse purchases. Do you really need those silver bangles when you have a perfectly good set at home? If you still fall victim to over-shopping, instead of keeping the extra stuff guiltily among your things, give it as a gift to someone.

Leave the tinkles and shimmers at home…

Every day is not special enough to wear special clothes. We all jump at the chance to wear them, but there is a place for everything, and public places, especially on this night, are not fit for wearing attractive outfits; we all know the kind of crowd that is on the streets on this occasion.

…or stay at home with them

Who says you have to go out for fun? Food can be delivered at home, or someone can go out to get food for the whole party. Whether you go to the people or get the people to come to you, fun is how you make it.

Bazaar and Dhikr are not mutually exclusive concepts

Want the shopping and sightseeing but don’t want to leave the Barkat (goodness) at home? Begin with the name of Allah (swt). “I begin my adventure among the crowded stalls and malls by invoking Allah (swt),” may sound weird, so we have this tailor-made Dua for the marketplace to use: “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah alone, Who has no partner. His is the dominion and His is the praise. He brings life and He causes death, and He is living and does not die. In His Hand is all good, and He is Able to do all things.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Don’t let the Isha prayer slip by in all the excitement. It’s the first post-Ramadan prayer. You don’t want to be marked absent on His attendance register immediately after the holy month has ended.

Keep it down

While staying up late at night chitchatting or watching TV, remember that it only seems that the whole world is awake. There are early sleepers, little babies and elderly people all around the neighbourhood. Even if you know that your neighbours will stay up longer than you, you should still avoid making noise out of charity.

Abdullah Ibn Masood (rta) has narrated that Allah’s Messenger (sa) has said: “A man is not a Muslim till his heart and tongue are submissive, and he is not a believer till his neighbor is safe from injurious behaviour on his part.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Remember those who work at your house

A set of bangles for the maid is a small price to pay to make her feel special.

Chand Raat: the “night of reward”?

The Hadeeth “Whoever stands up (in worship) in the nights preceding the two Eids expecting rewards from his Lord, his heart will not die when the other hearts will die” is weak: its chain of narrators is unsound. The night before Eid has not been recommended for worship. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t pray during this night. We just shouldn’t go out of our way to do special worship that we wouldn’t do normally.

Instead of weighing the propriety of an action or practice on the unstable measure of public opinion (“if I do that, what will people think?”), it is better to consider what the Almighty thinks. Unlike our fellow flawed human beings, He will actually reward us for taking His approval into our consideration.

Fast or Feast?


Before visiting any fast food outlet or restaurant, either for Suhoor or Iftar, ask yourself the following questions:

1)      What is my purpose of visiting? Am I going because of an important family occasion or is it simply a mixed gathering of my classmates that can easily be avoided?

2)      Will the venue comply with the sanctity of Ramadan? Will it be free of music, for instance? Will it ensure that the Dua for breaking the fast is recited, either over the speakers or through the television?

3)      What is the cost per head? It is Ramadan and each good deed will have multiple rewards. Do I think that this money could be given to a deserving individual or organization?

4)      Is the Iftar menu simple? Or does it contain twenty plus dishes, which will make me indulge, eat too much, delay my Maghrib prayers and make me too lethargic to perform the Taraweeh prayers properly?

5)      After having eaten out, will I remember that this is Ramadan and the whole point is to rise above food, instead of feasting at the end of the day?

6)      Ramadan is the time to train the soul. Will this feast fulfill the essential purpose of this month or further deteriorate the state of your soul?

7)      How many examples of lavish feasts have been cited from the life of our Prophet (sa) and his companions during the month of fasting?

Compiled by Umm Ibrahim and Umm Amal

How the Righteous Taught their Children

July 11- Righteous children

By Maryam Sakeenah

In Surah Maryam, we are told of Prophet Zakariya’s (as) invocation to Allah (swt) for someone to inherit his prophetic legacy. His prayer was stimulated by his desire to see his mission continue after him and to pass on to the future, the treasure of wisdom, knowledge and faith he had acquired over the years. Allah (swt) blessed him with a righteous, noble son to inherit his legacy and to make it live beyond human mortality. It highlights the importance and role of parenthood as a means to reach out to the future and make the best in you live beyond your limited span of life.

The family lives of prophets give us important insights into their roles as parents. The manifestation of Luqman’s wisdom that Allah (swt) chooses to record in the Quran is what he taught his son. These words of advice are perhaps the best example today for Muslim parents.

The primary thrust of Luqman’s teaching is on belief in the Creator. His words are warning against associating with Allah (swt) anything of the creation. The tone, however, is not overassertive but explanatory, describing Shirk as the ‘greatest injustice’ against the Lord of the universe. Parents must teach their children the rights of Allah (swt) along with His attributes of absolute uniqueness and incomparability, so as to build in the consciousness of their children, recognition of Allah (swt) from their earliest years. It teaches complete reliance on Him for all needs and roots out all likelihood of Shirk.

The centrality of Tawheed in teaching the young recurs yet again in the words Ibrahim (as) and Yaqoob (as) say to their sons. Allah (swt) quotes them as saying: “‘O my sons! Allah has chosen for you the true religion, therefore die not save as men who have surrendered (unto Him)’… Yaqoob said to his sons: ‘What will you worship after me?’ They said: ‘We shall worship your God, God of your fathers, Abraham and Ishaq, One God and unto Him we have surrendered.’” (Al-Baqarah 2:132-133) Also, in this instance, the strong concern to ensure that their inheritors are saved from misguidance is very noticeable. It emphasizes that fear of Allah’s (swt) displeasure is the most powerful restraint against sin. As parents, it is our prime responsibility to plant in our children from their earliest years this seed of Taqwa (God-consciousness), motivate them to do good and restrain them from evil. Yaqoob (as) stresses the importance of staying forever in a state of submission to God by instructing his children to hold fast to faith and “die not, except as Muslims”.

Just as the Quran often instructs believers to obey parents right after the command to obey Allah (swt), Luqman teaches his son the importance of kindness to parents. He adds that the command of God is of the highest importance – if an order by parents violates this, they are not to be obeyed. However, in this case, children should not abandon kindness and gentleness in dealing with their parents. It is this unconditional attitude of respect towards parents that keeps filial ties intact and vital and, hence, protects the moral fabric of the society by giving every individual a personal source of authority and guidance to fall back on and seek recourse to.

After sowing in the heart the seed of faith, Luqman teaches his son to worship Allah (swt) with the heart and soul, fulfilling all the rites of His worship perfectly, for prayer is the best expression of submission to Him. He also prepares his son for the hardships that come in the way of the struggle to establish virtue and eliminate vice, advising him to stay steadfast, to persevere and to trust in Allah (swt): “… bear with patience whatever befalls you.” (Luqman 31:17)

Next, Luqman takes up character-building, which is closely connected to faith in God. Faith in the heart is the fountainhead of humility and gentleness in dealing with others; the source that impels one on the path of righteousness and good conduct. He teaches moderation, gentleness, etiquette and mannerism and warns against the hateful sin of pride, which does not befit man. What strikes one about Luqman’s advice to his son is not just the comprehensive nature and content of his teaching but also how it is ordered, linked and prioritized. As parents, we must likewise prioritize what we teach our children, keeping central to all teaching faith in Allah (swt).

Prophet Muhammad (sa) taught and trained his cousin Ali (rta) as his own son, and it was under his guidance that Ali (rta) grew into a living treasury of immense knowledge. Fatima (rta), his youngest daughter, brought up under his love and protection, became a woman of extraordinary perseverance and patience. What must be taken note of is how her blessed father insisted that her relationship with him could not guarantee salvation; it could not be taken advantage of, and that individual effort and personal sacrifice had to be made to gain Allah’s (swt) love and find a place among the righteous. When Fatima (rta) came to her father to request for a slave-girl to help with household chores, the Prophet (sa) instead taught her words of remembrance of Allah (swt) to give her ease. What is obvious here is fatherly wisdom to make his children go through toil and labour and achieve a higher station of faith by facing all the rigours of life and learning to rely on Allah (swt) alone. We also see how the Prophet (sa) rejects for his children all privilege that came with his spiritual and worldly position.

Anas Ibn Malik (rta) reminisces, how in his years of service to the Prophet (sa), he was never reprimanded even slightly for his mistakes, and was always gently instructed and taught by example. He mentions his mildness of nature and readiness to forgive and overlook faults; such traits make one learn and grow, without any feeling of being ordered and instructed. It creates in the learner a fondness for the teacher that makes obedience and learning a continuous pleasure.

Ibn Abbas (rta), who was also honoured by being taught by the Prophet (sa) and grew up to become one of the greatest scholars of Islam, reminisces: “I was riding behind the Prophet (sa) one day, when he said to me: ‘O son, I am going to teach you some advice: Observe Allah (swt), He guards you. Observe Allah (swt), you will find Him ahead of you. When you ask, ask Allah (swt). And when you seek help, seek the help of Allah (swt). And be certain that were the whole nation to collaborate to benefit you, they would never benefit you, except in a thing, which Allah (swt) has already foreordained for you, and if they were to collaborate to harm you, they would never harm you, except in a thing which Allah (swt) has already foreordained against you. The pens are lifted and the sheets have become dry…’” (At-Tirmidhi) The child is being taught complete trust in Allah (swt) and submission to His decree, a belief which makes one courageous, steadfast, patient and full of hope.

Parenting is a sacred duty we owe to the future. A righteous child is our gift to the future of the Ummah. In order to instill in our children the values that can make them a means of Sadaqa-e-Jariya for us in our afterlife, we must follow the ways and methods by which the prophets and the righteous taught their progeny. As parents, teachers, and elders we have a tremendous responsibility towards those who will live out our legacies after our time is up.